The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve the Arms Trade Treaty that would effectively regulate global trade in conventional weapons. For the first time this would link sales to the human-rights records of buyers.
The 193 countries represented voted as following: 154 to 3, with 23 abstentions. The three nations voting against it were Iran, Syria and North Korea.
Yes, Obama instructed that there should be support of the Arms Trade Treaty. However, almost two weeks ago, the US Senate voted in favor of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and with that, they voted in favor of national sovereignty. According to Jim Inhofe (R-OK) the measure is "to uphold Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty."
The Washington Times reports,
American gun rights activists, though, insist the treaty is riddled with loopholes and is unworkable in part because it includes "small arms and light weapons" in its list of weaponry subject to international regulations. They do not trust U.N. assertions that the pact is meant to regulate only cross-border trade and would have no impact on domestic U.S. laws and markets.
Critics of the treaty were heartened by the U.S. Senate's resistance to ratifying the document, assuming President Obama sent it to the chamber for ratification. In its budget debate late last month, the Senate approved a non-binding amendment opposing the treaty offered by Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, with eight Democrats joining all 45 Republicans backing the amendment.
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) indicated that passing a treaty that countries like Iran, Syria and North Korea will ignore will simply tie the hands of countries like the United States. "The U.S. Senate is united in strong opposition to a treaty that puts us on level ground with dictatorships who abuse human rights and arm terrorists, but there is real concern that the Administration feels pressured to sign a treaty that violates our Constitutional rights," Mr. Moran said. "Given the apparent support of the Obama Administration for the Arms Trade Treaty, members of the U.S. Senate must continue to make clear that any treaty that violates our Second Amendment freedoms will be an absolute nonstarter for ratification."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, we are pleased to join with the consensus" on the treaty, adding that before the White House gets to planning on how to get it through the Senate, it will first review and assess the language of the treaty itself."
However, Sen. Inhofe said, "It's time the Obama Administration recognizes [the treaty] is already a non-starter, and Americans will not stand for internationalists limiting and infringing upon their Constitutional rights. Furthermore, this treaty could also disrupt diplomatic and national security efforts by preventing our government from assisting allies like Taiwan, South Korea or Israel when they require assistance."
Neil MacFarquhar writes,
Treaty proponents pinned their hopes on a quick ratification by a large number of countries, anticipating that would put pressure on the large countries that abstained to ascribe to it as well. The proponents noted that all those abstaining countries had been willing to extend their consensus to the original treaty. But such significant abstentions could also signal that transforming the treaty into international law will be a more arduous process than if consensus had been achieved.
Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian envoy to the United Nations, said Russian misgivings about what he called ambiguities in the treaty, including how terms like genocide would be defined, had pushed his government to abstain.
Support was particularly strong among many African countries — even if the compromise text was weaker than some had anticipated — with most governments asserting that over the long run the treaty would curb the arms sales that have fueled so many conflicts.
Nations can begin joining the treaty in early June, and it goes into effect as international law once 50 have ratified it. Given that the vote in the General Assembly was so overwhelmingly in support, it is expected to go into effect this year.
In the run-up to the vote on Tuesday, numerous states objected to the treaty because they said it was heavily weighted in favor of the exporters — allowing them to make subjective judgments about which states met the humanitarian guidelines. The treaty could be abused in the future as a means to foment unjust political pressure, said several countries, including Cuba, Nicaragua and Syria.
Erich Pratt, of Gun Owners of America, told Freedom Outpost that they think the good news in all of this is the support of the Senators in their previous vote. Pratt indicated that the opposition would have to muster another 21 votes in the Senate to ratify the treaty, which he did not see happening. "The writing's on the wall and this treaty isn't going anywhere in becoming law in the United States."
When asked if he thought Barack Obama might seek to implement the Arms Trade Treaty via executive order in the same manner that Bill Clinton implemented the United Nation's Agenda 21 via executive order, Pratt said, "I do think that is our biggest threat. We can definitely foresee that and he has definitely indicated that he is willing to do that as evidenced by the twenty-three executive actions he put forward two months ago."
"We could very easily see him wanting to implement the UN treaty through executive action and so if he does that, then here again, there's good news and bad news," Pratt continued. "The bad news is that we're going to have a fight on our hands. The good news is we have fifty-three senators and assumedly a majority of congressmen that would support defunding any executive action that would take."
Pratt seemed confident that if Obama goes down the road of executive order that there are the resources that can be brought into play to pull any teeth the executive order might have.